Top 10 Sydney

The city of Sydney attracts millions of visitors year-round and it's quite easy to see why! Its famous landmarks, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, are internationally recognised. It's got a little bit of something for everyone: a vibrant nightlife, beautiful nature, high-rise buildings, famous restaurants, a unique zoo and plenty of exciting areas to explore! Having a difficult time deciding what to do? Look no further! Before You Explore's got you covered.

10. Angel Place

Why visit? Perhaps an unconventional choice for some Top 10 Enthusiasts considering the number of things to see and do in Sydney. However, Forgotten Songs of Angel Place transports the visitor down its empty side street into a dreamlike "playground" with 50 hanging bird cages and the sounds of birds lost to the city.

This amazing art installation commemorates the songs of 50 birds that once lived in central Sydney before urbanisation took place. The bird sounds change from day to night, beautifully mimicking the daytime and nocturnal birds of the past. Forgotten Songs is a wonderful little surprise in the city centre - not only aesthetically but also in terms of the meaning behind it. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to bird survival!

Website: Angel Place - Forgotten Songs
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8671868, 151.2056426

9. Bondi Beach

Why visit? Bondi Beach is one of Australia's most famous beaches and probably the most photographed. Catch a wave, a tan or go for a scenic coastal walk from Bondi Beach to either Tamarama, Bronte or Coogee. You'll discover more wonderful beaches along the way! Besides being able to soak up the sun, visitors can shop at one of the many swimwear shops along Campbell Parade. Famous brands like Billabong, Quicksilver and Rip Curl were actually founded in Australia!

To get to Bondi Beach from Sydney, you can either take Bus 380 from Circular Quay (40-45 minutes) or you can first take the train from wherever you are in the city (about 15 minutes) to Bondi Junction and from there either Bus 381 or 382 to Bondi Beach (another 15 minutes).

Website: Bondi Beach, Australia
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8924674, 151.274073

8. Taronga Zoo

Why visit? Because it's one of the coolest zoos in the world! It's so cool that to reach it from the city centre, you'll have to catch a ferry from Circular Quay! Ever played the PC game called Zoo Tycoon? This zoo is pretty much one of those, it's got everything! An entire area is dedicated to Australian animals - so awesome! You can also have your photo taken (at an extra cost) with either a koala bear, a reptile, giraffe, penguin or owl!

Watch a a seal or bird show, attend a few animal talks or go on a Wild Ropes adventure (at an extra cost and suitable for both children & adults) through two fun courses. It's easy to see why one would spend an entire day here! I bought a joint ferry & zoo ticket at Circular Quay for $52 but the zoo ticket alone is cheaper if bought online than at the gate so just check what's best beforehand.

Website: Taronga Zoo
Entrance fee (at gate): $46 for adults, $26 for children aged 4-15 years, $36 for pensioners and students, and $129.60 for a family of two adults and two children
Opening times: May - August 09h30-16h30, September - April 09h30-17h00 and New Year's Eve 09h30-16h00
GPS coordinates: -33.8460514, 151.2389197

7. The Rocks

Why visit? The Rocks is where it all began - where the first Europeans settled in Australia back in 1788. Visit Cadmans Cottage and the Sydney Observatory to learn more. Besides it's history, this vibrant area has plenty to offer, my favourite being the Rocks Market. Around 100 stalls, offering anything from crafts to souvenirs, jewellery, clothing and even food, are put up every weekend. You might even stumble upon a local artist creating his next masterpiece live in front of an audience.

During the week, there are a number of art galleries and shops to visit. And don't forget to visit one of the many pubs in the area, each offering something unique whether it be German beer or an Irish experience! With so much to see and do in The Rocks, one might even miss the beautiful view of the Harbour Bridge nearby!

Website: The Rocks
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8588581, 151.2036155

6. Darling Harbour

Why visit? Because there's so much to do here! Darling Harbour is the hub of leisure and entertainment in Sydney. Relax at one of the many restaurants and bars here or party the night away at one of the popular nightclubs! Shop for anything and everything at the Harbourside Shopping Centre. Bring your kids to enjoy the free playground. Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship or perhaps Sydney's very own SEA LIFE Aquarium. Watch a 3D film at the IMAX or have your photo taken with a celebrity wax-figure at Madame Tussauds. The options are endless!

Website: Darling Harbour
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8711094, 151.1968528

5. Royal Botanical Gardens

Why visit? There's nothing like some green space to beautify and freshen up an urban jungle! Sydney's very own botanical gardens is free for the public to enjoy and has some great spots to relax and admire the city. My favourite spot is called Mrs Mcquarie's Chair (see GPS coordinates below). From this point you'll have incredible views of the harbour, Opera House & Harbour Bridge - it's something you simply cannot miss!

Websites: Royal Botanical Gardens 
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: October 07h00-19h30, November - February 07h00-20h00, March 07h00-18h30, April & September 07h00-18h00, May & August 07h00-17h30, and June & July 07h00-17h00
GPS coordinates: -33.8593654, 151.2200611

4. Tower Eye

Why visit? To have the most epic views of Sydney CBD and beyond (see above)! Okay, it's not the cheapest entrance fee but the 360° views of the city are completely worth it. You'll be able to spot the Harbour Bridge  and Opera House as well as Darling Harbour, the nearby St. Mary's Cathedral and more.

If you're feeling peckish, grab a bite to eat in the Tower Eye's very own restaurant. Or go souvenir shopping. And for the adventurous folk, try the SKYWALK where you'll embark on an outside tour of the tower (at an extra cost). Be sure to check their website out for cheaper online prices and combo ticket deals for other attractions in Sydney - you'll save some money doing so!

Website: Sydney Tower Eye & SKYWALK
Entrance fee: $26.50 for adults, $17 for children aged 4-15 years, $20 for New South Wales pensioners and students, and $85 for a family of four
Opening times: 4 October 2015 - 25 April 2016 09h00-22h00 (last entry at 21h00) and 26 April - 3 October 2016 09h00-21h30 (last entry at 20h30)
GPS coordinates: -33.8704465, 151.2065713

3. Circular Quay

Why visit? Circular Quay is Sydney's transport hub. Without it, you can forget about travelling anywhere around the city! Not only is it the place to catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour or perhaps Manly all the way on the other side of the harbour, it's also thee place to hang out. There are a number of bars and restaurants to choose from, each with their own unique view of Sydney's iconic landmarks and buildings. I'd recommend having some sundowners at one of the bars here.

Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8611538, 151.2121195

2. Sydney Opera House

Why visit? The Sydney Opera House is truly iconic - not only for Sydney but also for Australia! It demands attention and cannot be missed on a visit to this lovely city. Whether you enjoy marvelling at its architecture from the outside only (it's free!) or you'd like to see its inner beauty, the Opera House will not disappoint! You'll also have some great views of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay from here.

Website: Sydney Opera House
Entrance fee: $37 for adults, $28 for pensioners and students (16+ years), $20 for one child aged 5-15 years, $12 for an additional child, $95 for a family of two adults and two children, and free for children under 5 years
Opening times: Daily, 09h00-17h00
GPS coordinates: -33.8568935, 151.2130919

1. Sydney Harbour Bridge

Why visit? Besides the fact that it's the focal point for the New Year's Eve fireworks display every year, it is also the largest steel arch bridge in the world and a masterpiece of architecture. Sydney Harbour Bridge is another iconic symbol of Australia! 

For breathtaking views of the city, the Opera House & Circular Quay, head through The Rocks district, look for The Bridge Stairs (near Gloucester & Cumberland Streets) and go onto the bridge walkway. This is completely free and the views are incredible!

If you go up the Pylon Lookout, you'll pay an entrance fee for almost the same views and a bit of history information. I wouldn't do it. If you're feeling adventurous though and don't mind spending about $200, then try the Bridge Climb - where you will literally walk on the bridge's archway! Otherwise, walk all the way to the middle of the bridge where you'll have a clear view down the harbour.

Website: Sydney Harbour Bridge
Entrance fee: free
Opening times: 24 hours, everyday
GPS coordinates: -33.8528431, 151.2075577

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